In the last decade, as the cloud has become preeminent, the pace of regulation has increased along with technology advancement. Lawyers now are subject to federal and state regulations, as well as local ethics rules, respecting their use of technology, including obligations related to the data they store and maintain for clients. The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility’s Formal Opinion 477R (tinyurl.com/y79grt7w) covers in detail a significant number of these rules and regulations and ends up by restating as recommendations that lawyers should follow the dictates of the more comprehensive state law regimes. But even this document doesn’t detail specific requirements attaching to the attorney in, say, Mobile, Alabama. For that Mobile-based attorney, reading through all the statutes, regulations, ethics rules, and comments that govern his relationship to his clients’ data is still a massive chore, and given the technical complexity of the systems involved, he may exit the process without much additional understanding of what, practically, he is obligated to do regarding his actual technology systems.
Enter the TL;DR guide.